I have no idea what to write about from a metal perspective so I decided that since I’ve seen Minus the Bear live (out of the few bands I’ve seen live, cryface) and they’re one of the few good indie/math rock bands out there I’d give them an honorable mention for being totally kick ass.
So, they’re pretty awesome. They play a pretty unique style that’s really soothing and relaxing. Yet, at the same time, it’s never insipid and boring. Their best album, Menos el Oso (Minus the Bear in Spanish), evokes a feeling of carefree happiness. Imagine driving along the beach as the sun sets in a convertible, the wind flowing through your hair. If life was impeccable, this is what it’d sound like. To top things off, their music is technically inclined and the composition is even better. Tracks like “The Fix” have really comforting tapping that’s sure to send chills down your spine.
Then comes their 2007 release Planet of Ice, which showed a change stylistically. They mellowed out a bunch more and really lived up to its artwork: a cold, barren planet. Not only is the music a lot more “chill” and calm, they added a lot more synthesizers to the music. I’m not talking about acid synths or anything, but the music isn’t as technical and relies a lot more on its artificial undertones. It’s a wonderful album no doubt and the catchy choruses are abundant. The more sex-influenced lyrics may be a turn off to some, but they’re not done in an abrasive manner like R&B. Seriously, if you can’t get laid listening to “When We Escape” there is something wrong with you. I kid, of course.
Then after a few years they release their most recent record, OMNI, on an unknown label. The style changed this time, too, combining elements of the previous albums. While the end result is a jack of all trades, master of none, it’s still a good album. I definitely wouldn’t start here if you’re looking to get into Minus the Bear, though.
There is another album before all these called Highly Refined Pirates, but I don’t like the studio versions. Live they sound phenomenal, but I suppose if you want a complete discography grab this one too.
Last but not least, for my birthday this year I got tickets to see them live. As the day approached, the weather was looking worse by the minute. By mid day it was a fucking torrent of rain and carried all throughout the night. I sucked it up and went downtown, even driving through the flooded downtown just for the sake of seeing them. I was fairly sure something would happen to my car, but I didn’t care. Nevertheless, I went and man was it worth it. There was a lot of energy and hearing every song live, especially my favorite ones, was truly fascinating. The best part was that the rain turned off a lot of people from going so the small crowd made it feel more personal. Really. If you like them they are totally worth seeing live, especially if they’re headlining. They had a fantastic, varied setlist even after just releasing OMNI.
All in all, if you’re not constrained to metal and can ignore the stereotypical indie fanbase, you’re in for a treat.
Check out some tunes: